Mrs. Doily, Cedar Rapids, IowaAge and Occupation: 25, Autism Paraeducator/ StudentFiance's Age and Occupation: 28, IT Hosting SupportEngagement Date: August 27th, 2010Wedding Date: March 2012Venue: Father’s Vineyard Church/ A Touch of Class Banquet CenterAbout Me: I’m an Iowan girl with a deep love of Harry Potter, classic movies, cardigans, and Post-Its. My type-A Virgo tendencies often cause me to drive my laid-back college sweetheart fiance batty with lists and PowerPoint presentations. I love to be crafty and do things myself, which explains why my two crazy kittens often will prance around the house covered in glitter and ribbons. When I am not bogged down with work, school, or wedding planning, I like to travel to visit my expansive family and have wild adventures with my best friends. After a rollercoaster ride of a love story, I’m ready to take that final plunge, marry the love of my life, and become a Mrs.!
There has been many a debate about whether or not couples want to include a dollar dance in their reception. It wasn’t a debate for us, though, as it’s a very traditional thing to do in the Midwest, especially in Eastern Iowa where there is a heavy German/Polish (I myself, am half German) population. Every single wedding I have been to in this area has had it, and no one has ever blinked twice. In fact, I have found that it’s often common practice to hold back some of the money you wanted to gift the couple and save it for the dollar dance. Because of this, when the DJ announced the dollar dance, we had lines immediately form. Most people see it as a fantastic way to get a little extra one-on-one time with the bride and groom.
MOH A and Best Man N both took their positions near us to collect any offerings and also to keep track of time. I noticed that during this time, a lot of people took the time to talk to other people they may know or work on our guestbook pages when they weren’t dancing with Mr. D or me:
My mom was the first person in Mr. D’s line. She thought it was a hoot when he gave her a turn:
Mrs. Otter, Indianapolis, INAge and Occupation: 22, Freelance Social Media ConsultantFiance's Age and Occupation: 23, CVS Shift SupervisorEngagement Date: November 11, 2011Wedding Date: April 2013Venue: Mustard Seed GardensAbout Me: I'm a born and raised Hoosier girl, but a diehard Michigan Wolverines fan. I have a tendency to take too many photos and spend full days having TV marathons. Mr. Otter and I met in high school, started dating a couple years later, and moved in after a month of being official. He is easygoing and makes plans on a whim, while I'm color coordinating my planner and organizing everything in sight. He hates glitter, but it's my favorite thing. I have tattoos and he still won't get one, despite my attempts to convince him. We're planning a small, rustic, and (hopefully!) peony-filled wedding to get our married life started. (And yes, there will be glitter involved!)
Mrs. Genie, Los AngelesAge and Occupation: 23, Admissions AssistantFiance's Age and Occupation: 24, BiotechnologyEngagement Date: July 3, 2010Wedding Date: July 2012Venue: Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community CenterAbout Me: I am bibliophile and Disney nerd who is marrying her science genius high school sweetheart in not one, but two, weddings! When I am not working or wedding planning, I am usually found reading a book (or my Nook), weeping at an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or frolicking in Disneyland. Mr. Genie is usually found rolling his eyes at my eccentric behaviors while playing Diablo III, solving great big science problems, and introducing me to highbrow television like Breaking Bad. We are getting married in a traditional American wedding, jetting to Costa Rica, and coming back for a traditional Bengali wedding one month later! I can’t wait to share all my plans with the Hive! "You ain’t never had a friend like me!"
It was my turn. I remember my mom kind of gripping my arm a little tighter. I had decided to walk with both of my parents because I couldn’t really imagine it any other way.
Some latecomers were running up behind us, and I waved, but then my nerves got to me, and everything sort of became surreal.
I locked eyes with a friend who was in the back of the chapel, and she was about to cry. And then I saw everybody in the chapel looking at me. To have 100 pairs of eyes on you can be an overwhelming feeling, especially when they are all people who are very close to you.
Mrs. Dragon, Sioux Lookout/Brockville, ONAge and Occupation: 24, JournalistFiance's Age and Occupation: 35, Graphic DesignerEngagement Date: August 22, 2011Wedding Date: September 2012Venue: Mother of the Bride’s ResidenceAbout Me: I moved to Northern Ontario for a job, expecting to be single for the year I'd be there. Within one month I was dating a co-worker, and now, more than two years later, we’re planning a wedding and I’m still a Northern girl. I’m a reporter and a photographer for a small-town newspaper, and I get to do all kinds of fun, exciting, and sometimes weird things at work. When I’m not getting the scoop, I’m cooking, adventuring, playing with our three black cats, or blogging.
This was a bit of a challenging post to write, but I think it’s something that affects enough people that maybe sharing my experience would be beneficial. I tried to be really careful in writing it, so I hope nobody takes offense—this is just my opinion, and my experience.
So. Weddings can be difficult for all families, right? Whether you have divorced parents, step-parents, small families, big families, awesome in-laws, outlaw in-laws, whatever—put a whole bunch of people into one big emotionally fraught situation, add in a lot of expectations for perfection, and you have some nerve-racking dynamics to deal with, no matter what.
A lot of the time, weddings can bring out the worst in people. We’ve all heard stories of overbearing parents inviting half the world to their kids’ weddings, or evil in-laws not wanting to give up their son or daughter. We didn’t have any of those problems (my in-laws are awesome and so are my parents!), but we did have something.
Mrs. Pain au Chocolat, Wilmington, DEAge and Occupation: 29, RealtorFiance's Age and Occupation: 34, RealtorEngagement Date: November 21, 2009Wedding Date: June 2011Venue: Greenville Country ClubAbout Me: An ENFJ with an artistic streak who loves backgammon, sailing, graphic design, and sleeping in. Travel (near or far), good wine, and tasty food makes my heart sing. I'm a compulsive list-maker who lives to plan and organize. Mr. P and I have lived together for 4 years, all the while renovating our city townhome bit by bit. We're planning a whimsical, Anthropologie-inspired garden wedding in June 2011.
Mrs. Archer, Los Angeles/New OrleansAge and Occupation: 26, Marketing and ConsultantFiance's Age and Occupation: 27, Actor-Writer, Fitness InstructorEngagement Date: May 15, 2011Wedding Date: October 2012Venue: the Columns HotelAbout Me: I’ve been in love with Mr. Archer for my entire adult life. After over seven years, two of them long distance, we're thrilled to (finally!) be planning a sweet Southern jazzy Jewish destination wedding. Working in marketing for a clothing company and running a niche consulting company with Mr. A, life is crazy, in the best possible way! I adore Saints football, dressing up, dance television, bright colors, beautiful things, and alliteration. When I’m not working, sleeping, or smooching my handsome fiancé, I’m making lists, cooking, or eating or drinking something yummy, bargain-shopping, and still oogling my heirloom engagement ring....ooh, sparkly!
In my very first post, I chatted about how and why I chose my moniker. I still find Mr. Archer’s comment amusing, and remain a Hunger Games fan. Referring to us as the Archers has become second nature and, well, I’ve always been a bit of a cheeseball.
A while back, Mr. Archer and I went on a date, to the Renaissance Faire for the first time. We had such a blast drinking mead and eating turkey legs. I was so psyched when we came across the archery section, and we quickly set me up with a quiver of arrows and a period instructor so I could live my nickname!
Despite (or more accurately, because of) my excessive enthusiasm, I was terrible at first. Like, missed the hay bales—by yards. As I’ve mentioned, I’m awfully uncoordinated, so this was no surprise. After a few rounds and some generous instruction, I was sort of OK, and even hit the target a few times!
Mrs. Wizard, PittsburghAge and Occupation: 22, Front-end Web DeveloperFiance's Age and Occupation: 23, Software ProgrammerEngagement Date: June 8, 2011Wedding Date: June 2012Venue: Glades Pike Winery, Somerset, PAAbout Me: I’m a born-and-raised Pittsburgh girl marrying a born-and-raised Pittsburgh dude. I’m a stubborn Italian with a huge personality, and I love oldies music, baking, housewifery, and all things Harry Potter. He’s a quiet, level-headed guy who loves my cooking and laughs good-naturedly at my lack of verbal filter. He’s an intellectual who likes to learn, and can often be found going on "Wiki walks" and landing on the most hilariously weird articles imaginable. We truly are a case of "opposites attract," and we balance each other out perfectly. We keep each other sane and make each other laugh so hard we cry almost every day, and that’s all I could ever ask for. Together we’re planning a simple, elegant, summery June wedding, and we can’t wait to be Mr. and Mrs.!
Mrs. Wallaby, Houston
Age and Occupation: 24, Environmental EngineerEngagement Date: January 1, 2012Wedding Date: November 2012Venue: Oak Tree ManorAbout Me: I'm a free-spirited, adventurous girl who loves anything active, reading, traveling, cooking up new dishes for my fiancé, and working on my budding garden. My fiancé is an athletic, intellectual, animal-loving guy with an obsession with basketball and who treats me with the deepest compassion and respect. We are both engineers, and we met at our workplace. Together we complement one another and make a great team, and we are excitedly counting down the days until our outdoor wedding in Houston in November. We're planning a green wedding with lots of Persian cultural touches, and I can't wait to share all of the before-and-after details of our special day
Mrs. Camel, Athens, GAAge and Occupation: 29, high school teacherFiance's Age and Occupation: 35, high school teacherEngagement Date: March 2012Wedding Date: May 2013Venue: Cloverleaf FarmAbout Me: I'm a high school social studies teacher who started her career teaching English in Japan with the JET Program. I love photography and history. I also like to travel and take naps---two things that you would think contradict each other, but somehow they don't. My heroes are Dwight Schrute, Liz Lemon, the Dude, and T.E. Lawrence. I traveled the world throughout my 20s only to fall in love with the social studies teacher in the classroom next door to mine. He just happened to be the kindest, most compassionate, and selfless person I had ever met and each day I'm so thankful to have him in my life. We are planning a whimsical, relaxed countryside wedding with a little Marie Antoinette flair thrown in for good measure. Please join us on our wedding planning adventures!
What’s an engagement ring post without a Lord of the Rings reference? Actually, it’s funny I should mention that because apparently when Mr. C first showed his brother-in-law the ring (it was sent to their house for secrecy), he remarked that it looked like the ring the “elf lady” had in Lord of the Rings. This should have been Mr. C’s first indication that he had chosen well.
Anyway, at last I have the big engagement-ring reveal! I will have a separate entry (or two) about the actual proposal, but for now here is the ring:
It has four smaller accent diamonds around the main diamond followed by two half-moon emeralds. It is considered an Art Deco style and is most likely from the early 1920s. According to the appraiser, as far as they could tell the entire ring is still in its original state (i.e., nothing has been replaced or changed since it was created).
Mrs. Blue Whale, College Park, MDAge and Occupation: 27, Graduate StudentFiance's Age and Occupation: 33, Graduate StudentEngagement Date: March 10, 2012Wedding Date: May 2013Venue: Southern Tree Plantation in Blairsville, GAAbout Me: I love bright colors, glitter, sugar, cheese, tiny animals, talking in silly accents, dancing, and all things music. I love to plan things, but when it comes time to execute the plans, I tend to panic. My friends tell me that I remind them of a mix between a cartoon character and a Disney Princess. Mr. Blue Whale and I are Southerners at heart, but we’ve been transplanted to the East Coast for school. We both love barbecues, star-gazing, bonfires, music, making up nonsense words, and generally being silly. Our wedding will be a fun-filled destination wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It will most certainly feature bright colors, '80s music, and glitter.
You may recall that Mr. Whale and I are having a semi-destination wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about nine hours from where we currently live. That’s made vendor hunting a bit more challenging. One of the most important vendors to meet (so I hear) is the photographer. After all, one usually spends quite a few hours with this person on your wedding day. They’d better be someone you’re willing to hang out with for a while. We finally chose a photographer after much disaster, and we’re so pumped to have her. But unfortunately, we still haven’t met her. We’re also not doing a first look, so if we don’t meet until the wedding, she literally wouldn’t see both of us together until I walk down the aisle. Whoa. That’s probably not ideal.
For this reason, we are definitely finding a way to do engagement photos. Mr. Whale and I end up in the Atlanta area (where our photographer is) a couple of times each year, because that’s a good place to stop when we’re driving from Maryland to the Mississippi Gulf Coast (where Mr. Whale’s family lives). And so we decided that we could have our engagement photos done during one of these stops. But…unfortunately, the only time we’re going to be in Atlanta between now and the wedding is…January. Brrrrrr!
Thus begins the debate: should we try to have pictures taken outside, even though we’ll be freezing our bums off? Or should we find a great indoor location? From a photographer’s perspective, outside is always better. Indoor lighting is just a bit yucky for photographs. However, an outdoor photo shoot in January isn’t going to have bright blue skies and lush green grass and trees with lots of leaves. We’ll probably have grayish skies, dead grass, and brown leafless trees…
So I started looking for indoor ideas. There are a lot of couples who have taken AMAZING engagement photos inside museums.
Miss Panda, Boston, MAAge and Occupation: 26, Graduate StudentFiance's Age and Occupation: 23, Graduate StudentEngagement Date: June 27, 2011Wedding Date: June 2013About Me: I love window shopping, cute animals, crafting, baking, and most forms of procrastination. I tend to be overly meticulous with choices to a point of complete and total indecision. Mr. PBear and I met and live in the amazing city of Boston. We are big nerds who love trying new foods, playing video games, and cuddling with our adorable hamster. After 5 years together, we are planning an intimate, DIY-heavy, vintage garden themed, nonreligious wedding in the city where we fell in love.
It didn’t really take as long as I was worried it would take. After two somewhatfail attempts to find a restaurant within close proximity to our venue, we decided to branch out to any restaurant within public transportation of Boston that would be able to fit 16 to 20 people in a private room.
Mrs. Sword, ChicagoAge and Occupation: 28, Nanny/ActressFiance's Age and Occupation: 28, Software EngineerEngagement Date: February 19, 2012Wedding Date: March 2013Venue: Embassy Suites Bloomington West in Bloomington, MNAbout Me: I am a true girly-girl originally from the great state of Minnesota and my fiancé hails from the beautiful country of Scotland. We met and fell in love in our favorite city, Chicago, and are having a blast blending our cultures for "A Highland Fairy Tale" wedding! We are truly a case of opposites attract in that he’s a world traveling introvert and I’m a social butterfly who is never too far from home. We both love hanging out with family and friends, fine dining, and laughing at ourselves. He drinks a lot of beer and I talk too much. We wouldn’t have it any other way!
Last week I said I’d recap Mr. Sword’s bachelor/stag party, but it’s going to be a bit difficult because HE FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES. Clearly, he’s not meant to be a blogger like myself.
Mr. Sword had quite the weekend though! I guess they drank at their rented home away from home, drank at the local bars, went on a whiskey tour, sang karaoke, and the cops only showed up once. Success!!
I did manage to steal one photo from Facebook, and luckily, it’s a tame one. This was taken at a Whiskey distillery in Keith, Scotland. The story goes that not everyone was feeling well enough to go on the tour the next morning. Hehe.
Mr. Sword and friends/ photo by Best Man Doc
And keeping with my theme, here are some Stag Do(s) and Don’ts!
DO rent a chalet (house) in the middle of nowhere to ensure one rockin’ good time.
In lieu of a photo, I have this quote from one of our groomsmen: “Turns out a stag in the middle of nowhere with little planned is absolute carnage. Ruined.”
Mrs. Teaspoon, Sydney, AustraliaAge and Occupation: 27, Medical ScientistFiance's Age and Occupation: 30, BankerEngagement Date: June 4, 2010Wedding Date: September 2011Venue: St Aloysius' College, Milson's PointAbout Me: I am a mad scientist who enjoys swimming at the beach in summer and skiing powder in winter. Our favourite times together are spent with the sand between our toes, cooking up a storm, re-watching and re-reading every Harry Potter ever made, and spending time with our dear friends and family! We have travelled the world together in our 6 years of dating, from Paris, to Thailand, to Las Vegas, and we are tackling the many challenges of planning our special day the best way we know how---together!
“I come from the land down under, where women glow and men plunder”
- Men at Work
I thought you might like to join me on a little tour of my favourite place in the world—Sydney, Australia. I have honestly travelled a lot—if you follow me on 4Square you have seen that. However, I am still biased and will shout from the rooftops that Sydney is the best city in the world.